Slips, Trips, & Falls

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1 PREVENTING Slips, Trips, & Falls IN YOUR WORKPLACE

2 Contents 1 Introduction 3 Discussion Leader s Guide Safety Talks: 5 Life After the Fall Traumatic Brain Injury 7 Preventing Office Falls 9 Wearing the Right Shoes for the Job 11 Slip, Trip, and Fall Are Four-letter Words 13 Workplace Slips, Trips, and Falls 15 Gravity Always Wins! 17 Housekeeping Is Safekeeping at Work 19 Ladder Safety Stepladders 21 Office Safety 23 Ladder Safety Straight and Extension Ladders 25 Don t Slip and Slide this Winter 27 Stairs and Walkways 29 Safety Incentive Program Tips 31 Facilities Checklist

3 Introduction Why should you and your company care about preventing slips, trips, and falls? Because workplace accidents involving slips, trips, and falls can cost you money in lost employee productivity and higher workers compensation costs. Here are some facts: The U.S. Department of Labor lists falls as one of the leading causes of occupational death, accounting for eight percent of all job-related fatalities. In the American workplace, slip, trip, and fall accidents account for approximately 300,000 disabling injuries per year. Injuries from slips, trips, and falls are among the most frequently filed and most severe claims submitted by Pinnacol Assurance s policyholders. Regardless of your company s size, industry or number of employees, you can control workplace hazards that cause or contribute to slips, trips, and falls. To help you do that, Pinnacol has developed this comprehensive safety awareness program with tools and tactics you can use year round. In this booklet you will find: DISCUSSION LEADER S GUIDE This guide provides step-by-step instructions to help you prepare for safety meetings with your employees. It is designed for use with the Safety Talks included in this booklet. SAFETY TALKS There are 12 different Safety Talks for use at safety meetings, each intended to last approximately 15 minutes. The Safety Talks are perforated for easy removal. The first page of each Safety Talk provides tips on facilitating the meeting. On the back of the talk are management recommendations, because your commitment to safety is essential for ensuring a safe work environment. The degree of risk in your industry should drive the frequency of your safety meetings. For example, construction workers should attend weekly tailgate talks; office workers could meet less frequently. SAFETY INCENTIVE PROGRAM TIPS Everyone likes to be recognized for positive performance. Studies show that safety incentive programs can make a difference. We ve included information to help you set up your own program. FACILITIES CHECKLIST Slip, trip, and fall accidents are among the most preventable accidents in the workplace. The Facilities Checklist will help you identify slip, trip, and fall hazards in your workplace so they can be eliminated. Use the checklist to conduct facilities inspections on a regular basis. Involve employees when possible; those involved in creating a safe work environment are more likely to think and behave safely. Your toolkit also includes: EMPLOYEE POWERPOINT PRESENTATION This presentation, suitable for all employees, is contained in the enclosed Loss Prevention CD. To access the presentation, click on Open Pinnacol Loss Prevention CD, then Safety By Hazard, then Slips and Falls, then Slips, Trips, and Falls Employee Presentation. 1

4 FACILITATOR S GUIDE FOR EMPLOYEE PRESENTATION There also is a facilitator s guide in your toolkit to help you present the PowerPoint to your employees. We suggest using this 20- to 30-minute presentation to kick off your company s slips, trips, and falls prevention program. POSTERS Four posters are included in your toolkit one for each quarter of the year. The posters correspond to the Safety Talks topics. Since most of us only retain 40 percent of the information we ve heard after two weeks have passed, repetition of safety messages in posters will help your employees remember and practice what they ve learned about workplace safety. PAYCHECK STUFFERS Include a safety reminder with each employee s paycheck. Like the posters, the information in these stuffers reiterates the messages contained in the Safety Talks. Photocopy the check stuffers as needed. Thank you for your commitment to creating a safer work environment. It s the first step toward decreasing work-related injuries, increasing employee morale, and reducing workers compensation insurance costs. Take a look at other free safety materials Pinnacol provides our policyholders at From the home page, click on Employers, and then Resources. You will find a complete list of materials on the Safety Materials Order Form. If you have questions, contact your insurance agent or call your Pinnacol Assurance safety consultant at

5 Discussion Leader s Guide Congratulations! By using Pinnacol Assurance s slips, trips, and falls prevention toolkit, you are taking a significant step toward reducing one of the most frequent types of accidents at work. The following information will help you prepare for your slips, trips, and falls Safety Talks. PLANNING A MEETING The degree of risk in your industry should drive the frequency of your safety meetings. For example, construction workers should attend weekly tailgate talks; office workers could meet less frequently, but at least quarterly. Set a specific time and date for your safety meeting. If you have infrequent meetings, publicize them well in advance of the date so everyone involved can attend. Each Safety Talk is designed to last approximately 15 minutes. BEFORE THE MEETING All of the Safety Talks include management training. Review this information with managers, shift leaders, and anyone else in your company who is responsible for implementing and enforcing safety. Here are some tips for preparing for a safety meeting: Review the Safety Talk before the meeting and become familiar with its content. Make notes about the points that pertain to your workplace; cross out any information that is not relevant to the employees attending the meeting. If possible, present the material in your own words and lead the discussion without reading it. Since each meeting will be short, seating is not absolutely necessary, but arrangements should be made so that attendees can easily see and hear the presentation. If possible, photocopy the front page of each Safety Talk to distribute at the meeting. Collect materials and props beforehand. Use equipment in your workplace to demonstrate your points. If you are using safety incentives to help motivate your employees, distribute the incentives at the safety meeting. Incentives work best when they are based on team performance rather than individual behavior. DURING THE MEETING Now that you ve prepared for your meeting, follow these guidelines to get the most out of it: Give the Safety Talk in your own words, using the printed talk as a guide. The purpose of a safety meeting is to initiate discussion of safety hazards and provide solutions. Encourage employees to discuss hazards or potential hazards they encounter on the job. Ask for suggestions on how to eliminate or control these hazards. Correct safety hazards as quickly as possible. At the end of the meeting, ask employees to sign in the space provided on the back of the talk to show that they attended. Keep this sheet on file for your records. Assign an employee or work team to conduct an inspection related to the topic and provide feedback on the results. Employees who feel a sense of ownership over workplace safety are more likely to adhere to safe behaviors and report safety hazards. AFTER THE MEETING Remember to reinforce the messages in the Safety Talks by using the paycheck stuffers and safety posters included in this toolkit. Pinnacol Assurance is committed to providing materials to help you reduce workplace injuries; however, management commitment to safety is the number-one factor in preventing slips, trips, and falls. 3

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7 SAFETY TALK Life After the Fall Traumatic Brain Injury You can work for years and hardly get a scratch, and then one day a fall at work can change your life forever. Falls may cause injuries such as abrasions, fractures, and dislocations. However, one of the most serious results of a fall, other than death, is a head injury. How this will affect you depends on which part of your brain has been injured as a result of the fall or impact. Several factors determine which body parts are injured and the severity of the injuries resulting from a fall. As a result, traumatic brain injury can occur to workers in any occupation. Factors to consider are: The distance of a fall (velocity and momentum) You could fall from the top of the stairwell or trip on the same level. The angle of the body at impact We re not like cats, which land on all fours. The obstacles the body strikes as it falls You could fall down steps, or against the corner of a desk. The surface eventually landed on Will it be a gravel parking lot, a pile of hay, or broken concrete? Broken bones usually heal, but traumatic head injuries can result in lifelong problems that affect you and your loved ones. These include: Changes in personality, such as increased anxiety, depression or anger Difficulties with eye and hand coordination, and the inability to handle tools or play sports well Defects in vision and visual illusions Short-term memory loss or interference with long-term memory Increased aggressive behavior Difficulty in distinguishing left from right Changes in social behavior Stay alert! Head injuries can have devastating consequences that may affect your life forever. 5

8 Management Training Remind your workers to play it safe and avoid taking risks. Encourage employees to report unsafe conditions immediately to the nearest supervisor. Make it a habit to work safely, regardless of time pressures and productivity goals. Train employees in the proper use of fall protection and fall restraint equipment. Consistently enforce your fall protection rules. Provide non-skid strips or floor mats in slippery or wet areas. Ensure that workers wear proper footwear for their work environment, whether in the office, shop, feedlot or field. Topic: Life After the Fall Traumatic Brain Injury Company Name Job Name Safety Recommendations Attended By:

9 SAFETY TALK Preventing Office Falls Falls are the most common office accident, accounting for the greatest number of disabling injuries. Falls among office workers are two to two and one-half times more likely to cause disabling injuries than falls among non-office employees. The following checklist can help stop a fall before it happens: Be sure the pathway is clear before you walk. Secure electrical cords and wires away from walkways. Close drawers completely after every use. One of the most common causes of office falls is tripping over an open desk or file drawer. Avoid excessive bending, twisting, and leaning backward while seated. Always use handrails when walking up/down stairs. Use a stepladder for overhead reaching. Never use chairs as ladders. Clean up spills immediately. Pick up objects co-workers may have left on the floor. Report loose carpeting or damaged flooring. Never carry anything that obscures your view. Carrying too much material not only blocks your view, but also could strain your back. Wear stable shoes with non-slip soles. Most offices seem to have an intersection that needs a traffic light to keep people from bumping into each other. If there are blind corners, consider installing convex mirrors so people can see each other coming. Be especially careful while carrying hot drinks. If you find yourself heading for a fall, remember roll, don t reach. By letting your body crumple and roll, you re more likely to absorb the impact and momentum of a fall without injury. Reaching out with an arm or leg to break your fall may break a limb instead. Fortunately, all of these fall hazards are preventable. When you see a hazard, don t assume it s someone else s responsibility. If you don t do something about it, who will? What ideas do you have to prevent office falls? 7

10 Management Training Remind your workers to play it safe and avoid taking risks. Encourage employees to report unsafe conditions immediately to the nearest supervisor. Make it a habit to work safely, regardless of time pressures and productivity goals. Provide non-skid strips or floor mats in slippery or wet areas. Conduct regular inspections to identify potential slip and fall hazards. Give special attention to walking surfaces, lighting, stairways, and ladders. Topic: Preventing Office Falls Company Name Job Name Safety Recommendations Attended By:

11 SAFETY TALK Wearing the Right Shoes for the Job Would you play basketball in your golf shoes, use swim fins to run the 100-yard dash or wear sandals to go skiing? Of course not. Likewise, having the right footwear when you work is critical to your safety and the prevention of injuries. Think of yourself as an athlete who needs specialty footwear for your sport. Your athletic shoes may be comfortable, make you faster, and help you jump higher, but they may not be appropriate for your work environment. The operations you complete every day will dictate what is appropriate protection against slip, trip, and fall injuries. The right footwear can help you avoid many general hazards, such as injury from heavy objects falling or rolling on your feet, burns from stepping in chemical spills, or stubbing your toes on immovable objects. The wrong footwear can also cause you to slip and fall, resulting in multiple injuries. Your work shoes should fit properly, be comfortable to wear, and not be defective in any way. What are some of the hazards at your workplace? Potential punctures by nails or other sharp objects Wear shoes with metal insoles or reinforced soles. Electricity Wear non-conducting shoes. Don t wear shoes with steel toes or soles with metal components. Corrosive chemicals Wear neoprene or chemically impenetrable rubber boots. Wet or oily walking surfaces Wear slip-resistant or oil-resistant soles. Heavy objects that could fall on your foot, or equipment, such as a chain saw, that could cause damage Wear shoes with steel-reinforced toes or fiberglass-reinforced toes (for cold conditions). Anything else? Take a good look at your work shoes. Are they right for the hazards at your workplace? Remember: as an occupational athlete, you need the right footwear to perform optimally and safely. Courtesy of 9

12 Management Training Review the hazards present at your business and determine the right footwear needed to keep employees safe. If applicable, ensure that safety footwear meets the ANSI Z requirements established by OSHA s 29 CFR 1910 final rule of October Most quality occupational safety footwear manufacturers comply with these standards but, since it s your employees safety at stake, it s also your obligation to ensure that the shoes they ve selected to wear are appropriate for the workplace exposures. Consider providing employee stipends for personal protective equipment, including shoes. Establish regularly scheduled housekeeping that includes cleaning up ground-level hazards. Topic: Wearing the Right Shoes for the Job Company Name Job Name Safety Recommendations Attended By:

13 SAFETY TALK Slip, Trip, and Fall Are Four-letter Words Slips, trips, and falls are among the most frequent causes of accidents. To avoid getting hurt from falls, don t rush and remember the following: WEAR PROPER FOOTWEAR Make sure your shoes are in good shape and correct for the job. If conditions are wet, slippery, snowy or icy, wear nonslip shoes or boots appropriate for the conditions. When conditions are snowy or icy, carry your office shoes and wear shoes appropriate for the conditions during your commute. Avoid footwear with leather soles, which have poor traction especially on smooth surfaces. WATCH WHERE YOU WALK Be aware of where you are walking. Look down continually for spilled liquids, materials, equipment, extension cords, changing surface levels, etc. Make sure the area is well lit or use a flashlight if lighting is poor. Walk on designated sidewalks that have been cleared of ice and snow. BE CAREFUL ON STAIRS Do not run when going up or down stairs. Check to see that stair treads are in good shape, with no obstructions on the steps. Always use the handrails that are provided. Avoid carrying large loads when going up or down stairs. Watch your step and don t trip yourself up! Remember: gravity always wins! Courtesy of 11

14 Management Training Involve employees in creating a safe work environment when possible. That way they ll be more likely to think and behave safely. Here are some reasons why: Employees who are involved in determining safety rules and procedures understand the reason behind them and are more likely to adhere to them. The employee doing a job can be the best person to advise on whether safety rules and procedures will work in practice. Employees can play an important part in monitoring the effectiveness of the policy for example, when conducting workplace inspections. Topic: Slip, Trip, and Fall Are Four-letter Words Company Name Job Name Safety Recommendations Attended By:

15 SAFETY TALK Workplace Slips, Trips, and Falls In the American workplace, slip, trip, and fall accidents account for approximately 300,000 disabling injuries per year. Slips and falls can occur anytime and anywhere. Keep these basic precautions in mind at work and at home to help keep you, your co-workers, and your family injury free. HOUSEKEEPING Keep walking and working surfaces dry. Keep walking areas free of obstructions. Provide proper lighting, especially in areas that go from light to dark, or vice versa. BEHAVIORS Wear slip-resistant, well-fitting footwear. Clean footwear thoroughly when entering a building. Don t run or change direction quickly. Use the appropriate equipment to carry oversized objects that obstruct your vision. Don t wear sunglasses in low-light areas. Always use handrails. Report all accidents, with or without injury, and any near misses to a manager. Don t assume management knows an unsafe situation exists. It s everyone s responsibility to create a safe work environment. What ideas do you have to improve safety? 13

16 Management Training Injuries from slips, trips, and falls are one of the most frequently filed and severe types of claims submitted by Pinnacol Assurance s policyholders. Establishing and enforcing policies that address housekeeping and behaviors can significantly reduce the number of injuries in your workplace. Here are some policies designed to prevent slips, trips, and falls in the workplace: Conduct regular inspections to identify potential slip and fall hazards. Pay special attention to walking surfaces, lighting, stairways, and ladders. Correct hazards immediately. Provide regular safety training for all employees. Maintain good housekeeping. Provide non-skid strips or floor mats in slippery or wet areas. Ensure workers wear proper footwear for their work environment. Encourage reporting of all slips, trips, and falls, with or without injury. Identify the cause and implement corrective measures immediately. Topic: Workplace Slips, Trips, and Falls Company Name Job Name Safety Recommendations Attended By:

17 SAFETY TALK Gravity Always Wins! Slips, trips, and falls are one of the most frequent causes of accidents, both on and off the job. In the United States each year, more than 300,000 people suffer disabling injuries from falls. Slips, trips, and falls can be fatal as well; they rank second only to automobile accidents. To prevent slips, trips, and falls, slow down and remember the following: WATCH WHERE YOU WALK Continually look down for spilled liquids, materials, equipment, changing surface levels, etc. Use a flashlight if lighting is poor. WEAR PROPER FOOTWEAR Make sure your shoes are in good shape and appropriate for the job and weather conditions. Discard worn-out shoes with smooth soles and other defects. If conditions are wet and slippery, wear non-slip shoes or boots. Avoid footwear with leather soles, which have poor traction, especially on smooth surfaces. CHECK FLOOR OPENINGS Avoid unguarded floor openings. When a cover is placed over a floor opening, avoid walking on the cover unless it is absolutely secure and will not move or collapse. Never jump over pits or other openings. BE CAREFUL ON STAIRS Don t run when going up or down stairs. Check to see that stair treads are in good shape and that there are no obstructions on the steps. Always use handrails. Avoid carrying large loads when going up or down stairs. USE LADDERS CORRECTLY Never use broken or defective ladders. Set the ladder at the proper angle. Abide by the 1:4 rule the base of the ladder should be placed one foot out for every four feet of height. This means if you are using a 12-foot ladder, the base should be three feet from the structure. Make sure the ladder is on solid footing and will not move when you climb onto it. Whenever possible, tie your ladder to the structure to improve stability. Anchoring the bottom is also a good idea. Never stand on the top two steps of a stepladder. DON T JUMP OUT OF VEHICLES Hang onto the door or handrail and use the steps provided, remembering the three-point rule (one hand, two feet or two hands, one foot). Avoid stepping onto loose rocks, slippery surfaces, oil spills, etc. Watch your step and don t trip yourself up! Remember: gravity always wins! Courtesy of 15

18 Management Training Slip, trip, and fall accidents are some of the most preventable in the workplace. By eliminating hazards that cause slips, trips, and falls, you can prevent accidents. Here are some tips on how to do that: Conduct regular facilities inspections to identify potential slip and fall hazards and correct hazards immediately. Involve employees when possible; those involved in creating a safe work environment are more likely to think and behave safely. Include employees, not just managers, on your safety committee. At the end of each safety meeting, ask your employees for ideas on improving safety. Act on their suggestions, when appropriate, and recognize their contributions. Topic: Gravity Always Wins! Company Name Job Name Safety Recommendations Attended By:

19 SAFETY TALK Housekeeping Is Safekeeping at Work Housekeeping at work is as important as it is at home, especially if you want a safe workplace. People who must function every day in a messy, disorderly work environment have lower morale, although they may not be aware of the cause. But the safety ramifications of poor housekeeping in the workplace are even more important. Poor housekeeping may result in employee injuries or even death, citations by OSHA (or another regulatory agency), and even difficulty in securing future work. How can such a seemingly minor issue such as housekeeping have such serious consequences? Poor housekeeping practices can result in: Injuries when employees trip, fall, strike, or are struck by out-of-place objects Injuries from using improper tools because the correct tool can t be found Lowered production because of the time spent maneuvering over and around someone else s mess, and time spent looking for proper tools and materials Lack of future work due to a reputation for poor quality General housekeeping rules to remember: Housekeeping is everyone s responsibility! Clean up after yourself. Pick up trash and debris and dispose of it properly. Keep your work area clean throughout the day, minimizing the time needed to clean a larger mess at the end of the day. Dispose of combustibles and flammables properly. If improperly discarded, they will increase the potential for a fire. Remove protruding nails and other sharp objects, or hammer them flat to prevent someone from stepping on them. Stack materials and supplies in an orderly manner and secure them so they won t topple. Report all slips, trips, and falls, with or without injury, so the hazard can be corrected. Do you value your health and safety, your work reputation, as well as your future employment? If you do, practice these general housekeeping rules. A well-kept workplace shows respect for those who work there. Help keep it that way! Courtesy of 17

20 Management Training Here are some results of poor housekeeping practices at work: Time spent investigating and reporting accidents that could have been avoided. Fires due to improper storage and disposal of flammable or combustible materials and wastes. Substandard quality of finished products because of production schedule delays, damaged or defective finishes, ill-equipped employees, etc. Wall-to-wall OSHA inspections due to the first impression of the compliance officer. Policies to consider: Institute a routine cleaning schedule. Hold everyone in the workplace accountable for housekeeping. Keep walkways free of debris and storage items. Train all employees on the proper disposal of combustible and flammable materials. Provide non-skid strips or floor mats in slippery or wet areas. Ensure that workers wear proper footwear for their work environment. Encourage employees to inform you immediately of any potential safety hazards and accidents, with or without injuries. Implement corrective measures immediately. Topic: Housekeeping Is Safekeeping at Work Company Name Job Name Safety Recommendations Attended By:

21 SAFETY TALK Ladder Safety Stepladders We ve all worked with stepladders at some time in our lives, either at work or at home. The risk of falling from a ladder is present in virtually every kind of workplace. It may occur in many forms, from standing on a ladder to change a light bulb to retrieving boxes from a top shelf. Using a stepladder is as commonplace as falling off one. To make your interaction with a ladder less hazardous: Inspect it for faults, such as broken rungs or rails, before each use. Check to ensure the footings and pads provide a non-skid surface. If any defect is found, take the ladder out of service. If it can t be fixed, dispose of it properly. Set a ladder on level and stable ground. Don t set it up on a muddy surface or you may find yourself falling over. Don t use bricks or other material to raise the height of the ladder. If it s not tall enough, you re using the wrong ladder. Position the ladder to avoid overreaching. Reposition the ladder whenever necessary. Don t climb higher than the second tread from the top on stepladders. Before stepping onto a stepladder, make sure the folding cross braces are locked in the proper position. Select the proper stepladder for the job Type I/industrial stepladder three to 20 feet for heavy duty, such as utilities, contracting, and industrial use Type II/commercial stepladder three to 12 feet for medium duty, such as painting, office, and light industrial use Type III/household stepladder not meant for commercial use Remember, chairs and desks aren t ladders. Setting up a ladder takes less time than a trip to the hospital. By following the above rules, you greatly reduce your chances of being injured while working on stepladders. Falling from a ladder can lead to a serious, disabling injury for you, changing not only your life but also the lives of your family. Courtesy of 19

22 Management Training Remember, you set the tone for safety on the job site. When employees see that you are committed to safety, they will follow your lead. Purchase stepladders appropriate for the tasks your employees perform. Only purchase approved stepladders. Ensure that all employees understand and use the right ladder for each task. Routinely inspect all ladders. Take any defective stepladder out of service. If it can t be fixed, make sure it s disposed of properly. Employees are more likely to slip and fall if they feel rushed. Always ensure that employees know that safety is their number-one job. Keep a stepladder near any areas where materials are out of reach. An employee is more likely to use a chair or other furniture if a stepladder is not close at hand. Topic: Ladder Safety Stepladders Company Name Job Name Safety Recommendations Attended By:

23 SAFETY TALK Office Safety You may think that since you work in an office, you don t have to worry about being injured. However, offices can be dangerous because people don t anticipate the potential hazards. Studies show that more than one-fourth of all office injuries are caused by falls. SLIPS, TRIPS, AND FALLS One-third of the falls incurred by women at work are due to wearing high heels, which make falls more likely. Consider wearing lower, wider heels. Other things that can cause falls are spills on floors, torn carpets or exposed carpet seams, electrical cords running across the floor, open desk or file drawers, boxes or supplies stored in aisles, or waste baskets placed where someone could trip over them. Look around to see if you can spot any of these potential problems. If you find any, report them to a supervisor immediately. STEPS AND STAIRS If your office has stairs or steps, watch out! Falls on stairs cause more than 33,000 disabling work injuries each year. About two-thirds of the workers who fell on stairs were not using handrails when they fell. Many were carrying objects or slipped on something left on the stairs. Accidents on stairs are usually serious 80 percent of these falls result in lost workdays. Use handrails, pick up anything you see on the stairs, don t use stairs for storage, and don t try to carry large items when using stairs if you can avoid it. CHAIRS Use common sense with chairs, and don t use them for anything except sitting. Straight-back chairs aren t recliners so don t lean way back or the chair could flip over. Chairs should never be used as replacements for stools or ladders. These are just a few tips that can make your office area safer. Look around and you will no doubt spot other problems that can be fixed easily. When you see a hazard, don t assume it is someone else s responsibility. If you don t do something about it, who will? What ideas do you have to improve safety? Courtesy of 21

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